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Sapience: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories

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What kind of life will we find in the depths of Europa’s oceans? What kind of life will we allow an AI with human level intelligence? The ten stories in Sapience: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories explore these questions and many more. In the near future, humanity builds a colony on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. They tunnel into the ice to explore the d What kind of life will we find in the depths of Europa’s oceans? What kind of life will we allow an AI with human level intelligence? The ten stories in Sapience: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories explore these questions and many more. In the near future, humanity builds a colony on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. They tunnel into the ice to explore the dark oceans beneath the moon's surface, searching for signs of extraterrestrial life. What they find will change them forever, setting humanity on a path to the stars. But the old conflicts and hatreds of Earth are not so easily escaped. Will human colonists on distant planets and moons create a paradise or a horrifying dystopia?


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What kind of life will we find in the depths of Europa’s oceans? What kind of life will we allow an AI with human level intelligence? The ten stories in Sapience: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories explore these questions and many more. In the near future, humanity builds a colony on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. They tunnel into the ice to explore the d What kind of life will we find in the depths of Europa’s oceans? What kind of life will we allow an AI with human level intelligence? The ten stories in Sapience: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories explore these questions and many more. In the near future, humanity builds a colony on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. They tunnel into the ice to explore the dark oceans beneath the moon's surface, searching for signs of extraterrestrial life. What they find will change them forever, setting humanity on a path to the stars. But the old conflicts and hatreds of Earth are not so easily escaped. Will human colonists on distant planets and moons create a paradise or a horrifying dystopia?

30 review for Sapience: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adriana Porter Felt

    I devoured this book in one long read, hopping from sidewalk to bus to barstool with my book in hand. Sapience tells fascinating stories of space pioneers and their predecessors. Some stories bring you to pleasant worlds; others are darkly dystopian. They’re connected by themes of defiance and survival: resisting dystopian overlords, fighting against inhospitable worlds, and struggling with society’s expectations. Most stories are hopeful, even if they are set in a hopeless world. I’ve grown to r I devoured this book in one long read, hopping from sidewalk to bus to barstool with my book in hand. Sapience tells fascinating stories of space pioneers and their predecessors. Some stories bring you to pleasant worlds; others are darkly dystopian. They’re connected by themes of defiance and survival: resisting dystopian overlords, fighting against inhospitable worlds, and struggling with society’s expectations. Most stories are hopeful, even if they are set in a hopeless world. I’ve grown to really love the short story format for space adventures. Short stories are long enough to connect the reader with an interesting character in an interesting world, but then the story ends so that you can move on to the next character and the next world. In Sapience, most of the stories are loosely connected — they are in the same universe, but in different points in time — so you see many glimpses into this strange future.

  2. 4 out of 5

    E.M. Swift-Hook

    Science Fiction With A Human Face This collection of stories about the settlement of Europa and its consequences each told from a different time and focusing on a different aspect. What I enjoyed: The humanity. The very best science fiction, in my opinion, explores not just concepts or technology or alien worlds, but humanity dealing with those things. This collection has that in spades. Each story is focused upon the human element in the equation and by so doing we are drawn in a more personal way Science Fiction With A Human Face This collection of stories about the settlement of Europa and its consequences each told from a different time and focusing on a different aspect. What I enjoyed: The humanity. The very best science fiction, in my opinion, explores not just concepts or technology or alien worlds, but humanity dealing with those things. This collection has that in spades. Each story is focused upon the human element in the equation and by so doing we are drawn in a more personal way to the concept. The writing style. This is very fluent with some lovely turns of phrase. Not florid or flamboyant, but very creative and smooth. The story links. These were sometimes very subtle and sometimes very obvious. For example, the returning colonists in ‘Earth is for Earthers’ are clearly those who changed following the events of ‘Chrysalis’ and the mysterious Gwydion of ‘Deep Ice’ is explained in ‘Husk’ and so on. The imagery. I really loved some of the scenes described especially the final story's climactic scene with its shades of Swan Lake. What I struggled with: The narrating characters. In general they were invisible as personalities and blended into a kind of every-man sensation for me. I am sure this wouldn't bother many readers but it did trouble me as I wanted to have some clearer sense of character voice each time. The atmosphere. There was an overwhelming feeling that there was no hope for humanity. The first is a very positive and uplifting story, but as the collection progresses they become increasingly dark and dystopic view with each story struggling to reach a point of hope by the end. Overall thoughts: This is very good science fiction and told with a heart. I read it through KU. If you like exclusively happy and uplifting stories this is not for you. But if you enjoy well-written, thought provoking sci-fi, you will find that here .

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karel Baloun

    Most of the loosely linked stories add to the whole, yet none of them feel complete enough to me. Langten certainly leaves me longing for more.. more adventures, more character development, and even just more time with the people in the story I like. Lantgen rushes through emotionally charged plot twists, with perfect foreshadowing and closures. As a collection of short stories the pages are both tighter, but also more chaotic with more gaps that smooth connections. I would have preferred a comp Most of the loosely linked stories add to the whole, yet none of them feel complete enough to me. Langten certainly leaves me longing for more.. more adventures, more character development, and even just more time with the people in the story I like. Lantgen rushes through emotionally charged plot twists, with perfect foreshadowing and closures. As a collection of short stories the pages are both tighter, but also more chaotic with more gaps that smooth connections. I would have preferred a complete story, even as I don’t mind using my own imagination to fill in the blanks. Lantgen's world making is super creative, and the presentation of scientific concepts more than credible, from full AI to virus vectors to microbots and nanofibers. Engineers become nearly magicians. I’m frustrated how she gives power to the same problematic humans in these settings.. coercion, especially with respect to sex seems to be the norm. People remain poor and uneducated, right down to a lynch mobs. The author capably creates so much novelty and emotional involvement in just 150 pages. I’m impressed, but at the same time I’m sad. Why do much dystopia? Can we learn nothing that would improve our societies? 2019 wasn’t yet the peak of real world dystopia, yet Trump and Bolsorano, Brexit, HongKong and Xi and Putin now-both-forever are pretty close to I hope peak terrible global government. So all of that is bad, but I’d give 5-stars only if Lantgen used her prodigious talent to help humanity find some hope.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gerardo Delgadillo

    Allow me to say something: Wow. SAPIENCE is one the best science fiction anthologies I’ve come across in a long, long time, so long I think I need to go back to Ray Bradbury’s short fiction. I found myself immersed in these hard science fiction stories–the worlds, beings, characters, and the strangeness of it all. Fascinating, to say the least. SAPIENCE is engaging and extremely well written–exquisite prose that transports you to other worlds–real or not. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. You w Allow me to say something: Wow. SAPIENCE is one the best science fiction anthologies I’ve come across in a long, long time, so long I think I need to go back to Ray Bradbury’s short fiction. I found myself immersed in these hard science fiction stories–the worlds, beings, characters, and the strangeness of it all. Fascinating, to say the least. SAPIENCE is engaging and extremely well written–exquisite prose that transports you to other worlds–real or not. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. More on my blog: https://gerardowrites.wordpress.com/2...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Loralee

    Sapience is a collection of very well written short stories about Earth’s fictional colonization of Europa. Lots of things, of course, go wrong, as one might imagine. For myself, I imagined these stories would be the sort of stories that Edgar Allan Poe would write if he lived in this century! And these stories are not ones I would recommend that young people read, “You’ll be So Much Calmer” in particular, for reasons I would prefer not to say. They are, nevertheless, very well written, and I be Sapience is a collection of very well written short stories about Earth’s fictional colonization of Europa. Lots of things, of course, go wrong, as one might imagine. For myself, I imagined these stories would be the sort of stories that Edgar Allan Poe would write if he lived in this century! And these stories are not ones I would recommend that young people read, “You’ll be So Much Calmer” in particular, for reasons I would prefer not to say. They are, nevertheless, very well written, and I believe that people who enjoy science fiction and don’t mind some graphic content would enjoy these stories.

  6. 4 out of 5

    AR Matthews

    Sapience is a collection of dark stories about the future of humanity. But unlike tales of planetary destruction and the end the species, there’s an element of humans failing to treat each other as reasoning, sapient creatures. Fans of black mirror especially should check the well-told speculative stories. Though the stories can seem bleak, the author chooses to focus on characters that dream of something else, fight oppressors, or sacrifice to create hope.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angela Panayotopulos

    Real literary gold right here. “Chrysalis” features astrogeologist Karen Maguire navigating uncharted terrain in Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. Brimming with suspense, cosmic radiation, and great sensory detail, this is Karen’s story of survival, beautifully worded and poignant. I loved the subtle details throughout that conveyed Karen’s compassion for her loved ones and the world at large, with the author implying just enough backstory to ensure that I was rooting for her. “Deep Ice” pays tri Real literary gold right here. “Chrysalis” features astrogeologist Karen Maguire navigating uncharted terrain in Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. Brimming with suspense, cosmic radiation, and great sensory detail, this is Karen’s story of survival, beautifully worded and poignant. I loved the subtle details throughout that conveyed Karen’s compassion for her loved ones and the world at large, with the author implying just enough backstory to ensure that I was rooting for her. “Deep Ice” pays tribute to the brutality and beauty of a raw planet, mirroring it in the brutality and beauty of complex relationships, a family torn between family and team, between the present and the past, between duty and desire. Alexis Lantgen does an outstanding job showing instead of telling, breathing the story to life with heartbreaking dialogue and details, not missing a beat. In “Halo,” where I realize the stories are delightfully linked, we meet a modern little Frankenstein and its makers. This story reminded me of the movie Chapie. The connection to the AI was gradual and well-developed; paralleling that, I wish the initial relationship between his human “parents” was fleshed out a bit more, as I couldn’t quite understand when or why mistrust became blind loyalty and love. The rest of the stories follow the patterned themes of haunting loss and love, massacres and misfits, desperation and rebellion, heartbreak and hope, death and survival. My favorites were “Forgiveness and Escape” and “Quarantine.” Some—“Earth is for Earthers,” “You’ll Be Much Calmer,” and “Remade”—are more harrowing and violent than others, reminiscent of a Shakespearean tragedy, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Chuck Palahniuk’s chilling “Beautiful You” in turns. Braving through these stories, however, is its own reward. Full of quotable quotes throughout, here are a handful of my favorites: “A treacherous king… the tumultuous planet took after its namesake, the philandering god. It had chaotic weather patterns, inscrutable geography, and sent bursts of debris and radiation hurtling towards its satellites with terrible abandon. It bore down on Europa, looming over her landscape until the ice sparkled in reflected reds and oranges. The red spot glared at Karen like a giant eye, pulsing with fury” – or, later – “seething with terrible beauty.” “'I know what you’re doing,’ she said, her eyes soft and luminous. She gave me a smile that made me feel warm and safe in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time […] once she was gone, I felt cold all over, as if all warmth had fled with her.” “I followed him through the lab like a puppy in a butcher’s shop, marveling...” “It looked so grim I thought they probably played death marches over the sound system instead of elevator music.” “He took her with him to the labs, and if other physicists stared at a small girl spreading data analysis sheets before her like the pages of a fairytale, or eagerly categorizing pictures of galaxies and interstellar phenomena, then so be it.” “A dull metallic gleam reflected off the drone’s razor-edge, like a mechanical smile.” “I felt a thin sliver of vulnerable flesh quivering deep in my chest, aching and human and flawed.”

  8. 4 out of 5

    G.J. Griffiths

    This collection of short sci-fi stories was a brilliant surprise for me. I was an enthusiastic fan of Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Azimov, John Wyndham, et al for many years when younger, and felt that their original and intriguing concepts were most unlikely to ever be equalled, never mind bettered. I have read many other sci-fi novels since then and enjoyed them but nothing has really grabbed my emotions and imagination. However, Alexis Lantgen’s book of 10 science fiction tales had m This collection of short sci-fi stories was a brilliant surprise for me. I was an enthusiastic fan of Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Azimov, John Wyndham, et al for many years when younger, and felt that their original and intriguing concepts were most unlikely to ever be equalled, never mind bettered. I have read many other sci-fi novels since then and enjoyed them but nothing has really grabbed my emotions and imagination. However, Alexis Lantgen’s book of 10 science fiction tales had me gripped from the first page of each and every one. Here are her imaginative ideas that quickly encapsulate the potential problems (maybe some are known, while others are still not considered by society) involved with AI, plague viruses, nanobots, totalitarianism, and species extinction. There is a very personal perspective and point of view in each story, from each of the main protagonists that often caused me to re-think. By that I mean I re-considered what my own view was about society, technology, the world, and its many foibles, not an easy thing to do. Coming from a science based training and background there were times when I wanted to question the survival of some individual characters, when they were part of a colony of humans living on a different planet or a moon of Jupiter, like breathing Europa’s atmosphere for example. It was a just a little bit too convenient for me when the author seemed to skip those details, probably so as not to slow down the pace of the plotline. Nevertheless, Lantgen is to be congratulated for tackling societal issues, like prejudice in ‘Earth is for Earthers’, and cosmetic plastic surgery in ‘Remade’, within her amazing, if not sometimes dystopian, group of incisive tales. It is highly recommended to all readers, and not just those fans of the science fiction genre.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hock Tjoa

    These ten science fiction short stories are well written with the world-building dispensed via deft and assured phrases - on Europa, Jupiter appears as a "brilliant, multi-colored sun" and is editorialized as a "treacherous king... philandering god." Inter-species relations are somewhat breezily packaged as a "ritual exchange of genetic material and a quantum entanglement." Other instruments that feature in the stories include "nanotube matrices" or "microbots, independent, self-healing, protein These ten science fiction short stories are well written with the world-building dispensed via deft and assured phrases - on Europa, Jupiter appears as a "brilliant, multi-colored sun" and is editorialized as a "treacherous king... philandering god." Inter-species relations are somewhat breezily packaged as a "ritual exchange of genetic material and a quantum entanglement." Other instruments that feature in the stories include "nanotube matrices" or "microbots, independent, self-healing, protein replication." Once, the author admits candidly (through a character) "I don't know how I know but I do... " Her insights into building a functioning A.I. intrigued me. The builder should not use boxes because it makes "them" angry. On the other hand, "they" need emotions so they can be "motivated." I was enraged about "foreigners who offered knowledge and training in exchange for service" - not debt slavery - just sign the contract... and the clear social/historical references in that story. On the other hand, another story seemed to depend on the inexplicable kindness of fate or the "Wise-Oldest" when that seems to be perhaps wishful. In the very first story, there was an incident, a crash, and the author speculates about geopolitical or commercial rivalries. Nothing came of this and I thought, well, Chekov's pistol was not fired. Nevertheless, these are literate and interesting stories.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Mensinga

    Sapience is a fascinating collection of sci-fi short stories. Full disclosure, I am friends with the author, Alexis Lantgen, and I was lucky to read an ARC of this charming book. Sapience features a variety of stories that range from gritty and thought-provoking to futuristic fairy tales. Among my favorite stories is Chrysalis, the tale of a woman stranded in a broken vehicle on Europa's surface. It has such an unexpected, almost poetic ending, and that ending then weaves itself into the stories Sapience is a fascinating collection of sci-fi short stories. Full disclosure, I am friends with the author, Alexis Lantgen, and I was lucky to read an ARC of this charming book. Sapience features a variety of stories that range from gritty and thought-provoking to futuristic fairy tales. Among my favorite stories is Chrysalis, the tale of a woman stranded in a broken vehicle on Europa's surface. It has such an unexpected, almost poetic ending, and that ending then weaves itself into the stories that follow. I also really loved The Last Bird and Swan, two related stories about mechanical birds that manage to be both tragic and uplifting.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shari Sakurai

    *I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review* Sapience is a collection of short stories taking place either on Earth or in colonies on other planets. Each story stands alone in its own right, but forms part of the bigger story and themes running through the collection. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sapience. It is an excellent dark science fiction anthology, exploring many different themes throughout including the morally questionable direction that science and technology may tak *I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review* Sapience is a collection of short stories taking place either on Earth or in colonies on other planets. Each story stands alone in its own right, but forms part of the bigger story and themes running through the collection. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sapience. It is an excellent dark science fiction anthology, exploring many different themes throughout including the morally questionable direction that science and technology may take humanity in the future. I think what I loved most about the stories was that as dark as they were, there was very often hope amongst the darkness and the characters had resolve to prevail no matter what difficulties they faced. Each one was beautifully written and are the kinds of tales that will stay with you. My favourites from the collection were Earth is for Earthers and Swan. Sapience is a short yet powerful read which I cannot recommend enough.

  12. 4 out of 5

    P.M.F. Johnson

    This book of hard science fiction short stories displays many excellent hard sf touches, and the author has obviously thought deeply about the scientific underpinnings of her world. The stories center around colonists of Jupiter's moon Europa, though each story takes a different slant. On the plus side, the author creates well-drawn people, and puts them in huge dilemmas, giving them strong emotions. These are hurt and suffering people who yearn to be fixed, physically or emotionally. The storie This book of hard science fiction short stories displays many excellent hard sf touches, and the author has obviously thought deeply about the scientific underpinnings of her world. The stories center around colonists of Jupiter's moon Europa, though each story takes a different slant. On the plus side, the author creates well-drawn people, and puts them in huge dilemmas, giving them strong emotions. These are hurt and suffering people who yearn to be fixed, physically or emotionally. The stories display good conflicts and tough choices. I do wish she had worked out more of the science, as it often felt skimmed over, and used only as a backdrop for the character dilemmas. Overall, these are well-written tales, but a little dystopian for me. If you like that sort of thing, these stories are probably ideal for you.

  13. 5 out of 5

    S.D.

    INTRIGUING COLLECTION This is an intriguing collection of Science Fiction short stories—all related to the colonization of a new world. Each story is full-rounded and complete. Together the individual story threads create a rich tapestry of the perils, joy, self-discovery and dangers of space colonization. The cast is varied in both age and gender, as are the challenges they encounter. Well Written. Entertaining. Parental caution, one of the stories may not be age-appropriate for your child. I f INTRIGUING COLLECTION This is an intriguing collection of Science Fiction short stories—all related to the colonization of a new world. Each story is full-rounded and complete. Together the individual story threads create a rich tapestry of the perils, joy, self-discovery and dangers of space colonization. The cast is varied in both age and gender, as are the challenges they encounter. Well Written. Entertaining. Parental caution, one of the stories may not be age-appropriate for your child. I found myself reading one story and eagerly beginning the next, long after I should have been sound asleep.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Willow Thomson

    This collection of short stories is well crafted and beautifully written. The author’s vision of the future is bleak, with humanity mostly showing its ugly undersides with small flashes of love sometimes lightening the darkness. I especially liked the first two stories, Chrysalis and Deep Ice with their beautiful descriptions of the settings on Europa; and the last two stories, The Last Bird and Swan also with wonderful descriptive language and the promise of a little more hope for the future. No This collection of short stories is well crafted and beautifully written. The author’s vision of the future is bleak, with humanity mostly showing its ugly undersides with small flashes of love sometimes lightening the darkness. I especially liked the first two stories, Chrysalis and Deep Ice with their beautiful descriptions of the settings on Europa; and the last two stories, The Last Bird and Swan also with wonderful descriptive language and the promise of a little more hope for the future. Note: a few of the stories might be disturbing for readers who have a history of abuse.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erynn

    Beautiful stories This collection displays a wonderfully diverse array of sci-fi short stories with characters seeking everything from adventure to love to freedom and more. There were several stories that I wanted to experience more fully, to get trapped in those tiny glimpses of the world and never leave (I especially loved "Swan"). However, there were also several stories where I felt too disconnected from the characters, but maybe I felt this way because I typically prefer reading novels inst Beautiful stories This collection displays a wonderfully diverse array of sci-fi short stories with characters seeking everything from adventure to love to freedom and more. There were several stories that I wanted to experience more fully, to get trapped in those tiny glimpses of the world and never leave (I especially loved "Swan"). However, there were also several stories where I felt too disconnected from the characters, but maybe I felt this way because I typically prefer reading novels instead of short stories. Regardless, there are a couple gems in here that make it very well worth the read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jan Anderegg

    The minute I read the"Look Inside," I was hooked. These stories are so well written, and so compelling. I was drawn right in and couldn't put it down. I purchased it the minute I finished the Look Inside read. Wow. Phenomenal reading. A must for any science fiction fan! I'd give this book ten stars if I could. Exceptional read! I highly recommend this book to any fan of science fiction. The minute I read the"Look Inside," I was hooked. These stories are so well written, and so compelling. I was drawn right in and couldn't put it down. I purchased it the minute I finished the Look Inside read. Wow. Phenomenal reading. A must for any science fiction fan! I'd give this book ten stars if I could. Exceptional read! I highly recommend this book to any fan of science fiction.

  17. 4 out of 5

    G.M. Nair

    Sapience is a fantastic set of science fiction short stories that harken back to Golden Age sci-fi with a dash of modern sensibilities. The stories are all at once intriguing, beautiful and powerful. A must read for any sci-fi fan who misses the elegant wonder and desolation captured by Ray Bradbury.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Francine Bates

    Great collection of science fiction shorts! I found this gem because of another one of my favorite authors shared about it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charles Hayes

    A Great Read. Really enjoyed this. It was different, fun, creative, and the author is quite talented. Definitely worth a read if you like scifi.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Miller

    Very entertaining!! I enjoyed the way the stories were arranged in the book. They were well written and easy. A few forgivable editing errors, but otherwise an excellent collection. Strongly recommend.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    One of the first short stories I read from Alexis Lantgen was “Earth is for Earthers,” in Red Sun magazine (also in this collection). It blew me away. Since then I’ve read the other stories in sci-fi magazines and I am always astounded at how good they are. Sapience is no exception -these stories are beautifully written with a sensitivity often lacking in sci-fi. The characters are human even when they exist as robots or rocket ships. That is what is so special about this book – all the characte One of the first short stories I read from Alexis Lantgen was “Earth is for Earthers,” in Red Sun magazine (also in this collection). It blew me away. Since then I’ve read the other stories in sci-fi magazines and I am always astounded at how good they are. Sapience is no exception -these stories are beautifully written with a sensitivity often lacking in sci-fi. The characters are human even when they exist as robots or rocket ships. That is what is so special about this book – all the characters are human even if some are deeply flawed. My favorite is “Deep Ice.” It is about a young person intent on finding out what happened to a group of scientists that went under the Europa ice and never returned. I also really liked “You’ll be So Much Calmer,” a satirical look at government interference in human behavior. "Husk" is also a great story! The characters are well written and are, at turns, sad, uplifting, courageous, and brave.

  22. 4 out of 5

    SapphireRose26

    This book is a quick read. Most of the stories are dark and have a very dystopian setting that justifies and even enhanced my fear of both space and robots. They're so well written that they're immersive, despite their short length, and they leave you thinking at the end, the way all the best stories do. My favorites were "The Last Bird" and "Swan," the final two stories in the collection. I loved Kyrie and Leda as characters, and the setting was so beautifully constructed. I would read an entir This book is a quick read. Most of the stories are dark and have a very dystopian setting that justifies and even enhanced my fear of both space and robots. They're so well written that they're immersive, despite their short length, and they leave you thinking at the end, the way all the best stories do. My favorites were "The Last Bird" and "Swan," the final two stories in the collection. I loved Kyrie and Leda as characters, and the setting was so beautifully constructed. I would read an entire novel set there. I look forward to anything else this author puts out.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Donnally Miller

    This is a collection of loosely linked science fiction stories, several of them having to do with the colonization of Jupiter’s moon Europa. The title, which may have been chosen ironically, seems to refer to two diverging possible future paths human sapience could take: one of them involving technology – sophisticated AI machines that can supersede (or perhaps enhance) human intelligence – the other involving an evolutionary leap in humans themselves. The stories are all built around a single p This is a collection of loosely linked science fiction stories, several of them having to do with the colonization of Jupiter’s moon Europa. The title, which may have been chosen ironically, seems to refer to two diverging possible future paths human sapience could take: one of them involving technology – sophisticated AI machines that can supersede (or perhaps enhance) human intelligence – the other involving an evolutionary leap in humans themselves. The stories are all built around a single pattern in which an individual is placed in a desperate situation, and at the very end escapes or moves on to the next stage in their journey. It gives many of the stories an unresolved feeling, as though they’re ending just at the point when things get interesting. The human species is shown as resistant to either of these changes. “Earth is for Earthers” shows a future in which the evolutionary change, brought about by contact with a beneficent outer space civilization, is brutally rejected. On the other hand, in “You’ll Be So Much Calmer” a future in which man’s creation, AI, has taken charge for the benefit of the human race ends with a nightmarish castration. The final two stories cast a hopeful ray of light on a future in which technology offers an escape from the madness that humans seem destined to perpetuate. The writing is competent throughout. There is really nothing to complain about. However, the book disappoints. The most disappointing aspect of this book is that the science fictional tropes are all ones we have seen before. The ideas are stale. There is a lack of imagination. I wanted to be amazed and at no point did that happen. The characters are a little two dimensional. They exist for no purpose other than to drive the story towards its destined goal. Having read another collection of stories by this author, I know she can do better. The editing is very clean throughout, although there are a few to/too confusions (something I noted in this author’s other book). But altogether the book is at a professional level. Anyone looking for standard science fiction stories told well and a stolid dystopian world view will be satisfied with this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Killian Wolf

    I gotta say, WOW! Thanks to Alexis Lantgen this will not be the last science fiction I pick up. I really enjoyed reading these.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sara Clyde

    I debated between 3 and 4 stars for this review but because I only liked a few of the stories I'm going to give it a 3. If I could give it a 3.5 I would, not that it's a bad book, just written differently then I like. Like I said some of the stories were amazing but I found a majority of them written very bluntly, with no room to use your imagination. I felt like every aspect was explained to me as though I was a small child and that's just not my cup of tea. I like to be able to use my imaginati I debated between 3 and 4 stars for this review but because I only liked a few of the stories I'm going to give it a 3. If I could give it a 3.5 I would, not that it's a bad book, just written differently then I like. Like I said some of the stories were amazing but I found a majority of them written very bluntly, with no room to use your imagination. I felt like every aspect was explained to me as though I was a small child and that's just not my cup of tea. I like to be able to use my imagination and really immerse myself in the book, while several stories were almost written like a scientific journal. The book has some massive high points though as well. Several stories left me thinking about them for days, contemplating human nature and how we as a species would react to change (I feel like the author nailed this aspect). It was a good read, but just that, nothing more.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Esther Jones

    The best sci-fi book I've read this year. This collection of short stories absolutely blew me away. From sad to horrifying, despairing to joyous, Sapience ran through a whole gamut of human emotions—both in what the characters experienced as well as the emotional reactions the stories elicited in me. The stories were all tied together around the central theme of mankind's settlement of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, and explored the kinds of scenarios that could happen when humans have access to The best sci-fi book I've read this year. This collection of short stories absolutely blew me away. From sad to horrifying, despairing to joyous, Sapience ran through a whole gamut of human emotions—both in what the characters experienced as well as the emotional reactions the stories elicited in me. The stories were all tied together around the central theme of mankind's settlement of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, and explored the kinds of scenarios that could happen when humans have access to advanced technologies and alien biogenetics, as well as the negative consequences of greed, power, and scarcity of resources. This is a collection of stories I could not put down, and one that will stay with me for a long time. It truly captures the essence of speculative scifi in both a bleakly depressing and defiantly hopeful manner.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elissa Matthews

    This is a collection of wonderfully imaginiative concepts, well written and beautifully detailed, and yet curiously unfinished. They're not so much stories as anecdotes. The endings are inevitable but not surpizing, and since the openings don't really set up a premise, the endings are not fullfilling. However, the writing, characters, settings, concepts are blisteringly beautful - this is an author with alot of promise. This is a collection of wonderfully imaginiative concepts, well written and beautifully detailed, and yet curiously unfinished. They're not so much stories as anecdotes. The endings are inevitable but not surpizing, and since the openings don't really set up a premise, the endings are not fullfilling. However, the writing, characters, settings, concepts are blisteringly beautful - this is an author with alot of promise.

  28. 4 out of 5

    J.E. Rowney

    Sci-fi that will yank at your heartstrings There’s something deeply emotional and moving about the way that Lantgen writes. Although the genre is sci-fi, the stories in this collection are sensitively created and deal with intensely human issues. I could have read an entire book about Gwydion, Danu and Dr Mathis. In fact my only complaint is that there isn’t more! Seriously, it’s a great quick read with stories that are unique and very enjoyable. I couldn’t put it down.

  29. 5 out of 5

    J. Bock

    Terrifying and Beautiful This collection of vignettes is masterfully delivered with nuance, originality and when needed, visceral thought provoking description. I devoured the collection and was never full as each story was unique in setting and voice never boring my pallet. Really well done.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike Carnell

    Not a good book I would like to be nice about it but, this book was terrible. The stories were all shallow and unimaginative and weren’t engaging at all. I forced myself to read the whole thing hoping it would get better but alas, it did not.

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